Enhancing Nottingham's Local list
Research into Old Basford, an easily-overlooked suburb of Nottingham, has highlighted the impact of industries associated with lace manufacture, as well as the area’s development from village to suburb. In particular, the workplaces and homes of prominent industrial-era lace bleachers were identified, as well as the gentry residences of the pre-enclosure village.
The research was undertaken during a work placement at Nottingham City Council, which was part of a collaborative PhD co-funded by Historic England. It produced a historic area assessment and identified new assets to be added to the local list, thus contributing to one of Nottingham’s Heritage Action Zone projects.
More widely, the research considered how best to support the protection of locally listed assets through Article 4 directions; trialled the local list selection criteria; and set a methodology which could be followed by local volunteers seeking to continue the local list enhancement project in other parts of Nottingham.
Old Basford is today a suburb of Nottingham. It is a centre for light industry, has good transport links into the city centre, and is also increasingly significant as a residential area. Its character is mixed, and defined by the close proximity of industrial buildings to residential and housing infill, creating streets in which buildings of diverse eras sit side by side. The medieval village of Old Basford is difficult to discern to the untrained eye, but a glimpse survives of it in the form of the Grade II* listed church of St Leodegarius, and two Grade II-listed 18th-century houses. Entries on the National Heritage List for England recognise some of Old Basford’s most important assets – the brewery, maltings, cemetery chapel, and a pub – but little had been formally identified at a more local level.
The research uncovered some buildings of architectural value that have previously been overlooked, such as an 18th-century house whose poor condition in the early 1990s probably accounts for its omission from the first local list. It has now been renovated and stands as a fine example of Georgian domestic architecture, revealing the lifestyle of Basford’s gentry at this period. Its gate piers, still inscribed with the owner’s surname and now incorporated into the entrance of the local brewery, show the extent of the grounds of the house.
‘As there was no police station, the landlord of The Bowling Green was in 1707 also a gaoler’
Historical accounts of Old Basford have captured the attention of local people, including their representatives in the local authority. Where these match with surviving historic fabric, new assets have been added to the local list. The Fox and Crown, for example is a Victorian building on the site of a much earlier pub called The Bowling Green, which attracted day trippers from Nottingham in the 18th century, highlighting the rural nature of Basford at that time. As there was no police station, the landlord of The Bowling Green was in 1707 also a gaoler. The cellars were used as the local lock-up and may still be there today. These associations are important links to the history of Basford as a village.
Other additions to the local list reveal a different aspect of its history: the Victorian industrialisation and growth of the village thanks to its role in bleaching works, which were an important element in Nottingham’s famous lace industry. The River Leen and the Day Brook provided the ample water essential to this process. A factory and a house have been added to the local list as they illustrate the home and workplace of a bleachworks owner in the late 19th century. The factory building, retaining a plaque reading ‘George Pearson and Co/Bleachers Dyers and/Lace Finishers’, is a rare survival of an industry which transformed Basford from small village to industrialised suburb within a century.
These are just a few examples of the heritage assets highlighted by the project. Designation of a conservation area was considered but it was decided that the scattering of individual assets in the area lacked a unifying character, with little positive contribution from the spaces and buildings in between: as a result, these structures better merited management through local listing. The suggestions for the local list were then used to pilot the criteria to be used across Nottingham, which utilise Historic England’s guidance for local lists.
Using Article 4 Directions
It was also important to consider how best to give local designation weight in the planning system. Nottingham has a policy within its local plan, and this could be supported by the production of a supplementary planning document, along with training for council staff in how to deal with non-designated heritage assets. The research examined a further option in support of local listing: use of Article 4 directions.
Article 4 directions can come with a wide range of permitted development rights: these include alteration, painting of exteriors, and the positioning of satellite dishes. Article 4 directions also offer protection to locally listed assets beyond recognition through the National Planning Policy Framework, and can be tailored to the characteristics of a place. The research suggests that it would be beneficial to implement a single Article 4 direction preventing demolition for all locally listed buildings outside of a conservation area.
This strategy conserves resources while bringing locally listed buildings outside a conservation area into equivalence with those inside one, and thus offers clarity across the system. The consultation process for adoption to the local list can be combined with the consultation for Article 4 directions, thus avoiding duplication. Again keeping resources in mind, the compensation payments associated with Article 4 directions can usually be avoided if 12 months’ notice is given before the direction comes into force.
Making local lists work
The local list selection process must work alongside the planning process if it is to be effective. A rigorous approach to selection is beneficial as it enables the local list to be a trustworthy flag to planners of heritage value, and thus less easily challenged by planning applicants. For this reason, it is vital to review the content of those local lists that have evolved gradually over time. It is also important to note that the creation of a local list should not exclude assets which are not on it from having value. Such structures may still be considered as ‘non-designated heritage assets’, as stated in the National Planning Policy Framework. It may be wise to state this in supporting documentation.
The goal for Nottingham is to adopt a local list which is known and used by local people as well as being a robust planning document. Once adopted, anyone can nominate a building for inclusion in Nottingham’s list. The research project included several activities aimed at the general public: a walking tour of Old Basford, an article in the local press, and a training event for voluntary researchers. These promoted the heritage of the area, encouraging pride in the local landscape, the value of which is easily overlooked. Furthermore, the training day passed on a methodology that depended on locally available resources: it can thus enable volunteers to expand knowledge of Nottingham’s heritage and identify further candidates for the local list.
Overall, the research contributed to wider thinking on the local list adoption process which was taking place as part of the Heritage Action Zone project, and its results will enable the local list to work well for local communities and planners alike.
Claire is a PhD student with the University of York and Historic England. Her research is on statutory and non-statutory heritage lists in England. Claire worked as the Listed Buildings Caseworker at the Council for British Archaeology prior to her PhD.
Beckett, J 1997 A Centenary History of Nottingham. Manchester: Manchester University Press
Bowley, A S 1998 Basford – Village to Suburb. Nottinghamshire: Walk and Write
Historic England, 2016 Local Heritage Listing: Advice Note 7
- You can find out more about Nottingham's historic buildings from this Historic England Research Report about the Broadmarsh area.
Also of interest...
Conservation areas and local lists play an important role in managing the historic environment at the local level and involving the community in the decision making process
The Heart of Nottingham Heritage Action Zone will reveal the city's history and in turn secure its future conservation.